22 December 2013

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Dec 19, 2013

Chris Regal
Going into this week's show, I knew that it'd be judged solely on the TNA world title match - its result, the Dixie Land gimmick, etc. - and on that basis, I thought Impact did exceptionally well.  Firstly, the concept of the match wasn't as convoluted as some claimed it was.  It was simply a cage match that transitioned into a ladder match.  I thought Dixie Land came across well and it's a gimmick that I wouldn't mind seeing once a year for important title matches.  I'm sure I'd find some issues with the gimmick if I examined it closely but I don't care to do that at this point in time.  For now, it's served its purpose.  Secondly, the booking of the match was very well done.  The finale - Rockstar Spud knocking over the ladder, causing Jeff Hardy to take a brutal bump - was a holy shit moment.  It was a fantastic moment that culminated in Magnus becoming the new TNA champion.  Some have been critical of this development but I think it's a smart decision to put the belt on Magnus in such a way that takes the pressure off him to carry the company on his back.  He doesn't need to be the face of the company.  He simply needs to be Dixie Carter's champion.  If his promo immediately following Final Resolution is any indication, he will do an outstanding job.  If you haven't watched the promo I'm referring to, make sure you check it out because it's amazing.  And lastly, I thought the writers did a nice job using Jeff Hardy's history - 10-10-10 and Victory Road 2011 - to tease a turn by him.  The references to past events is something TNA does often and it makes the storylines flow better as a result.  As someone who's a stickler for logic and some level of continuity, I truly appreciate it.  Overall, the world title match delivered in every way possible, in my opinion.

By the way, I absolutely love Team Dixie - Magnus, Ethan Carter III, Rockstar Spud, and Dixie Carter.  I described them as a heel faction in our post-Impact discussion thread the other night and I was rightfully corrected that it's more of an alliance.  Regardless of what they are, Team Dixie will be fun to watch, that's for sure.

The results of the Feast or Fired briefcases were revealed, this week, and the segment in which we found out each wrestler's fate was perfectly executed.  There were three major things that happened in this segment: 1) Gunner got the world title shot, turning a tense situation between he and James Storm into one filled with anger and resentment, 2) Chavo got fired, and 3) the EC3 vs Sting feud took another step towards an eventual physical confrontation.  These two feuds are clicking for me and have definitely piqued my interest.

In other developments, Eric Young presented Joseph Park with gifts in an attempt to bring Abyss out for his Monster's Ball match next week against Bad Influence.  It's interesting that Young has taken a psychological approach as opposed to simply making Park bleed during the match.  Madison Rayne and ODB defeated Gail Kim and Lei'D Tapa to set up their respective feuds/matches in the coming weeks.  I believe ODB and Lei'D Tapa are scheduled to wrestle on next week's Impact. 

Favourite Moment - For me, it was Jeff Hardy's nasty bump as a result of Rockstar Spud pushing the ladder.  Like I said above, it was a holy shit moment that impressively enough, surpassed the holy shit moment from earlier in the match when Hardy hit the Whisper in the Wind on Magnus off the top of the cage.

Least Favourite Moment - Kurt Angle vs Bobby Roode.  The match simply did not resonate with me.  I don't think there was enough intensity for a match between two men who loathe each other.  It was a basic wrestling match.

MVP of the Night - Our new TNA world champion, Magnus.  I'm happy to see TNA finally pull the trigger and begin the process of making him a star.  The potential is there.  It's only a matter of the writers digging in deep and pulling it out.

Grade - Final Resolution was a fun show that earned a solid B from me.  TNA are ending 2013 on a high note, with a new champion crowned and another waiting in the wings to make his return.  Some interesting feuds are developing between Sting/EC3 and Storm/Gunner, as well as those that are coming to an end soon (Angle/Roode, Bully Ray/Anderson, Joseph Park/Bad Influence).  And lastly, the results from the Feast or Fired match will no doubt throw a wrench into several storylines.  It should be fun.

You may have thought having a PPV-special as a taped show wouldn't be as good as the other Live specials in 2013, however that was not the case. The questioning of what Jeff Hardy would do added a nice twist to the World Title match. Some would say Hardy would never turn heel, however it was essential to bring up 10.10.10 to really sell the possibility to him siding with Dixie. I enjoyed Roode vs Angle, my only complaint is I didn't think it was as intense as it should have been. It was a good match and Angle's reaction after the match was well done to get over how important beating Roode is.

I enjoyed the Feast or Fired segment. I preferred it being backstage as it felt more like a big segment by being obviously different to any other segment. In my eyes the right cases went to the right people. Ion winning the X Division case should be a sign that TNA intend for himself, as well as possibly Kenny King and Manik to be involved in the X Division again in the near future. Gunner getting the World Title shot adds an important element to the feud with James Storm, and could really be the final straw between these two. EC3 getting the Tag Title shot is interesting, will he cash it in with Rockstar Spud? Magnus? Who else? Sting also offering to take the case from EC3 came out of nowhere, I think the writers got over well how much Sting wants to fight EC3. As for Chavo, his run in TNA has bored me, I gave him a chance when he first came in and he just didn't do anything for me, there was nothing more for Chavo in TNA and it was time for him to move on.

I liked the EY/ Joe Park segment. I didn't think anything would come of EY just showing Park some of Abyss' favourite weapons, however Park's reaction to Janice was interesting and seemed to put him in some sort of trance. Kim/Tapa vs Rayne/ODB didn't do much for me, however I think that's because I'm still disappointed about this whole Open Challenge lasting 3 weeks just to set up a former Knockout returning after just a year of being gone.

I was impressed with the Dixieland match. I thought the concept came off well, and the match was very good. The Whisper in the Wind from the top of the cage was nuts, and that bump Hardy took of the ladder was crazy. I said from the beginning that Magnus would win the title tournament, and him siding with Dixie was no surprise either. I believe that Magnus can be a great heel champion, he's been a great heel in the past, and I expect as the World Champion he will give the best performance of his career. If you want to see what the future looks like with the Team Dixie alliance, watch the video Chris linked above, if thats any sign for the future, we're in for a treat in 2014.

Favourite Moment - The Hardy ladder fall. It was a sick bump and I have to give credit to Hardy for taking the bump.

Least Favourite Moment - The Knockouts match. Right now I have very little interest in the division, and unless fresh faces come in, I don't expect it'll change soon.

MVP of the Night - Magnus. It was his night to shine as the new World Champion. I have faith that Magnus will have a great reign with the belt. He not only made history as the first British Champion in TNA history, but started what I think is the beginning of a new star being born in TNA.

Grade - This one was a B for me. I enjoyed quite a bit on this show, and I think it sets a nice tone for TNA's direction in 2014.

Magnus and Hardy were better than average in their opening promo, but it didn't particularly "blow my skirt up".  Angle VS Roode was a wrestling clinic of suplexes, holds, submission moves and trickery.  Roode is a huge star and a future multi-time World Champion.  I'm glad TNA has a few main-eventers that can hold the belt as I think it makes the main event scene more unpredictable and fresh.  Young lions (plural mind you) fighting for the title and keeping us on our toes is a good strategy.  When you only have 2 believable main event players you get the same old same old like "the boys up north". 

I continue to be impressed with EC3 and Rockstar Spud as the perfect lil' alliance for Dixie Carter.  Throw Magnus in as their champ and it just works so well.  I am on board with Team Dixie as this alliance is very polarizing with the audience.  Fans love them or hate them.  Either way, the fans are passionately reacting.  They're becoming the centerpiece of the company quickly, yet naturally.  Chavo, good riddance as I couldn't give a care (or a f*ck for that matter).  EY & Park had a fun segment with the Abyss weapons for presents and the set-up for a Monsters Ball match next week.  I enjoy hard-core, bloody wrestling so I can appreciate the physical sacrifice that wrestlers go through to entertain us on that front.  By the way, Tommy Dreamer vs Bully at the Old School ONO PPV should be a fiery (literally), hardcore ECW-style throwback worth watching.  I can hear it now, "WE WANT FIRE!  WE WANT FIRE! WE WANT FIRE!"  I digress......

Samoa Joe & Hardy meeting and talking was kind of odd, but damn I miss Joe being in meaningful matches.  They ignore Joe's talents so often but it's par for the course in the last few years.  I feel un-invested from Gunner and Storm to be honest.  It doesn't move my meter much at all.  However, the Feast and Fired segment was great with Sting & EC3/Dixie being the focus.  Zema Ion has a fantastic DJ persona.  Ethan Carter III looks and sounds good to me.  You can accuse me of having a man-crush on him, because I  However, I know he gives off the "love him or hate him" vibe.  I am a big believer in THAT being a valuable and long-term asset to have in this business.   

Tapa/Kim VS Rayne/ODB was kind of meh.  I will say this, Madison Rayne & Rockstar Spud were trending worldwide on Twitter 45 minutes-plus after the show went off the air.  People worldwide WERE discussing them.  That does count for something as they made an impression and obviously have a following with the fans.  Hardy was sincere in his pre-match, in-cage promo but it's obvious that he's taking a break again for the U.K. Tour.  Magnus beats him in Dixieland and the bumps Jeff Hardy took were SICK!  The ladder fall at the hands of Spud onto the ramp was damn crazy.  Breath it in, we have a new World Champion and a new direction.  Deal with it. 

Favourite Moment - Rockstar Spud pushing Hardy off the ladder.  It had my adrenaline going and was very well-executed to give Magnus the W. 

Least Favourite Moment - Knockouts are still suffering, but Madison is helping things.

MVP of the Night - Magnus, of course :)  Youngest World Champ and 1st British World Champ in company history.  You have the ball Mag Daddy, run with that shit! 

Grade - For a taped PPV-style, Final Resolution was fine.  I give it a B- .

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