09 November 2013

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Nov 7, 2013

I didn't mind the PacMan Jones thing with Dixie.  It fits into her heel persona to bring someone like the controversial Jones in for a celebrity appearance.  In case you didn't know, PacMan is not just a bad memory for TNA but for a lot of NFL fans too.  Now, off of my soapbox.  The Mafia disbanding was very well done, and really set everyone up to be fooled later in the show.  Factions are shutting down quickly, which is a good thing.  Bobby Roode VS Angle will be an awesome feud.  Such a classic match-up of 2 of the best in the business. 

The Knockouts division is showing hope, only because Gail Kim and Lei'D Tapa destroyed the 3-way match and then basically told us that other women were coming in to challenge them from outside TNA.  The writers did a great job suckering most of us into thinking that the A's & 8's were done also.  All 4 men were convincing and Anderson did a great job here too. Swerve time!  Well, I'm not sure about keeping the A's & 8's going (and it probably won't for much longer) but if they did, they could still reload the group with other new wrestlers.  I know that's not a popular opinion but didn't you think the group would be over by now?  Who says it doesn't go longer?  I love EC3 but he needs to face someone else already.  I want to see him have a real match.

I love the "Friends of AJ" video and this is a clever way to show what AJ is doing to the mainstream audience.  Obviously I usually enjoy the Park/EY stuff but this match with Bad Influence was kinda eh....and I just want Abyss back at this point for good.  The Angle/Roode/Aries interaction was awesome and the Wheel of Dixie picking the stipulation is a kinda fun thing.  Sabin VS Hardy was pretty hardcore with the ladder and table spots.  Very good main event.
Favourite Moment - The main event was the highlight of the night as Hardy and Sabin brought their best.

Least Favourite Moment - The EY/Park vs Bad Influence match.

MVP of the Night - I thought Bobby Roode really looked like a superstar tonight.

Grade - I give the show a solid B+ overall.

A few weeks ago, I reamed TNA for their horrific editing and overall production quality on a taped show.  It was truly embarrassing to see such a poor job by a national promotion.  This week, however, I must applaud them for an outstanding job.  I thought this week's episode of Impact was the best produced episode of the year.  From a writing standpoint, it was most likely the best I've seen in several years.  It reminded me of the pre-Hogan/Bischoff era when characters were in multiple feuds and storylines and the show could, at any moment, be hijacked by a certain angle that developed throughout the night.  This is the Jeff Jarrett factor, I suspect.  There was an energy and the sort of chaos that made the old TNA so enjoyable.  Unfortunately, in the last few years, Impact took on a format that was simply too structured, causing the product to lose its spontaneity and more importantly, its ability to keep us on the edge of our seats.  This week's show did that.  With each segment, you had the feeling that anything could happen.

From a storyline standpoint, I can't remember the last time TNA did such an amazing job setting up a tournament and making it feel special like they have with the world title tournament.  With the exception of James Storm - I'm sure we'll hear from him soon - every competitor in the tournament was given the opportunity to make a statement this week.  It was done in a such way, though, that it set up several different scenarios, making it difficult to predict the winner.  Yes, there are clear favorites but if this week's show is any indication, anything can happen.

Briefly, on other developments this week...the Bobby Roode vs Kurt Angle feud is, right now, the best feud in pro wrestling.  It's rare that two talents who have accomplished so much in the business have such a hunger to still be the top star of the organization, and they're willing to absolutely annihilate each other to do so.  It's been fantastic and I can't wait to see how it ends.

The Knockouts match was awesome.  Those of you who continue to dismiss the division as stale missed out on one of most intense women's matches of the year.  Not since Taryn Terrell vs Gail Kim have we seen such stiff action in the ring and I, for one, loved it.  The post-match activities with Gail Kim and Lei'D Tapa was very well done.  Tapa continues to show improvement week to week but I think, this week, she finally showed the sort of destruction that she can cause.  I don't know about you but I'm very excited about the future of the Knockouts Division - Gail Kim's open challenge should bring on new and fresh talent, and the eventual clash between ODB and Lei'D Tapa will be a classic.

Ethan Carter III and his "feud" with Dewey Barnes and Norv Fernum has all of a sudden become one of my favorite storylines.  Who would've thought at Bound for Glory that an angle featuring a newcomer and two nerdy jobbers would have resonated with me.  But it has.  And that's because the execution has been flawless.  Kudos to all three men, as well, for their outstanding work.

Full Metal Mayhem, although I was concerned would not get enough time, was ten minutes of pure brutality and killer bumps.  If you haven't watched it, TNA have generously posted the match in its entirety on to their Youtube page.  I think I've already watched it at least five times.  What was great about the match is TNA essentially took away the script, giving Jeff Hardy and Chris Sabin free rein to absolutely pulverize each other until one of them could not get up.  And it was fantastic.

And lastly, the Friends of AJ ad was simply brilliant.  I had wondered how TNA were going to incorporate AJ Styles' international storyline into the show.  The fact that someone on behalf of Styles bought ad time on SpikeTV was very clever.  I loved it.  

Favorite Moment - So many to choose from but I will have to go with the swerve that nobody saw coming, the Aces and 8s turning on Mr. Anderson.  It was one of the moments that all you can do as a fan is tip your hat to the writers and say, thank you.

Least Favorite Moment - There wasn't a weak moment on this show.  Not a single one.

MVP of the Night - It's a tie between Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode.  Tremendous work by both men.

Grade - I think this show was as close as you get to a perfect score.  It reminded me how awesome pro wrestling can be if done right.  Wrestling is about the characters, the feuds, the chaos, the comedy, the intensity, and yes, the brutality.  Well done, TNA.  Well done.  You get an enthusiastic A from me this week.

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