28 December 2013

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Dec 26, 2013

This show seemed to have an odd vibe to it.  I can't place my finger on the exact root of the problem other than there were just so many episodes taped in a small time-frame.  Imaging how long ago this episode was taped is kind of mind-boggling.  Two more episodes to go in this current run at the Impact Zone and it's starting to become a stale environment already.  The word I would use on this show would be filler.  Yes, Hardy said goodbye to the fans, but the wording in his farewell left the door open for a return, especially in his subsequent #IMPACT365 video.  Team Dixie did well in this episode but not much else caught my attention. 

Park/Abyss vs Bad Influence felt slow, repetitive and boring to be honest.  A watered down Monster's Ball left me quite unsatisfied.  EC3, Rockstar Spud, Dixie and Magnus were the stars of the show along with the new additions of The Bromans (featuring DJ Zema Ion).  Tapa/ODB was decent for a "big-girls fight" but it really seemed average.  Gunner and Storm were more compelling this week but it's obvious that Gunner's weakness is the promo.  Their match being a rushed double count-out was a weird finish given that the World Title case was on the line.   The Bully/Brooke promo was good until the cheesy frickin' music played again.  Why are they doing that?  It's ruining it for me (and many others) as I want to get entertained by Bully......and then they play the ridiculous music.  I thought they were trying to drown out the crowd but seemingly it's "part of his character" or some crap.  PLEASE stop with the ominous soundtrack background music for gods sake. 

The "Rise of Magnus" videos were well-done and explained his TNA career and path to the title.  People shit on Magnus but I am more and more of a believer as time goes on.   The Sabin/Velvet dynamic is one of the best parts of the show and I find myself begging for more.  The main event match was sub-par but it showcased a lot of talent as 6 men fought.  The main thing was that EC3 got a cowardly heel pin on Sting and furthered his character and their feud.  Sting working with the future stars is a good thing in my opinion.  The hypocrisy of how Sting gets constantly scrutinized yet other old stars in WWE stars are worshipped is ridiculous.

Favourite Moment -  Rockstar Spud fighting with his bow-tie on.  He has became a very entertaining character in a short amount of time. 

Least Favourite Moment - The absence of Samuel Shaw.

MVP of the Night - Jeff Hardy gave the audience some heartfelt promos and he will be missed.

Grade - An average show earns an average C- score from me.

Chris Regal
This week's show was odd.  It wasn't a holiday-themed show but it felt like it.  It was as if most of the staff were given the night off to celebrate the holiday season with their loved ones, leaving the company short-staffed.  There was no Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, AJ Styles, Mr Anderson, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, and very little Magnus and Chris Sabin.  That's a huge amount of star power not on the show.  Of course, one can look at it this way: TNA managed to pull off a somewhat enjoyable edition of Impact without all those stars.  But again, why were so many not the show this week?  I understand giving Angle and Roode a week off, as I do giving Anderson time to sell his injury, but where have Austin Aries and Samoa Joe been?  These are two of the company's most over stars and they've been barely used since Bound for Glory.

In any case, this week's Impact was enjoyable at times but rather dull at others.  The opening segment was funny simply because it was a nod to Dixie Carter often over hyping her announcements.  It was nicely done.  The main event was fun - adding the BroMans and Zema Ion to a main event that already included Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud was a breath of fresh air.  It's always nice to see new faces in the main event spot.  Those five young men, in particular, helped this episode quite a bit.  Their exuberance was needed on a show that never seemed to take off.

Conversely, the Monster's Ball match was very disappointing.  Although I understand the logistics of it (Bad Influence methodically used the weapons in a way that didn't make Park bleed), it didn't come across well on TV.  The match was plodding and boring.  The visual at the end, however, with a bloodied Joseph Park holding up Janice was a nice touch.  The Knockouts match was filler - I expected much more from ODB's and Lei'D Tapa's first match.  The Bully Ray segment was intriguing but it lacked the urgency that most of Ray's promos have.  Was it haunting?  It was...until the music started and took me right out of the moment.  I don't think that's what the writers had in mind.

And lastly, I found Jeff Hardy's promo to be quite touching.  He genuinely looked like a man who's given it his all and simply can not go on.  With that said, the writers need to find another way to write off their top babyfaces because this particular plot point has been used already with James Storm and AJ Styles.  What is it about the TNA babyfaces that makes them sulk and go home?  I do like that the faces show vulnerability but this emo thing has jumped the shark, in my opinion.

Favourite Moment - This week, I will give it to the celebration involving EC3, the Bro Mans, Rockstar Spud, and Zema Ion after EC3 pinned Sting.  It hit me at the moment that there's a youth movement in TNA and it's a sight for sore eyes.

Least Favourite Moment - The fastest 10-count in the history of pro wrestling by Earl Hebner to end the James Storm vs Gunner match.  It was embarrassing how fast that count was and truly took me back to the Vince Russo days of booking.  I can't understand why pro wrestling writers always seem to dumb down the product as opposed to challenge their viewers.  Like I said, whomever made that decision to end the match in that way should be embarrassed.

MVP of the Night - Easily, it's Ethan Carter III.  He beat Sting.

Grade - I didn't hate this week's show but I found myself uninterested by much of the action as well as disgusted by the Storm/Gunner ending.  Additionally, the absence of so many top stars was inexcusable.  A funny opening and a fun main event simply did not do enough to save this show for me, so it gets a well deserved D from me.

Back on Thanksgiving I praised TNA for doing a great job with the Holiday special, unfortunately I can't say the same with this one. I'm not sure if this would be even classed as a holiday special or not, but It didn't feel like a standard Impact that we get every week, but rather a more restrained version that we get on U.S. holidays. If there's one word to describe my emotions for parts of this show, its confusion.

Who is exactly pushing who's buttons in this Gunner/Storm feud. At first I thought it was Storm being ungrateful for Gunner's help, then sending mixed signals before Feast Or Fired leading Gunner to go in with the every man for himself mindset, now I'm not so sure, unfortunately when it comes to a feud for me to get invested I need to be clear and who's got a problem and why they have it, and in this case I couldn't tell you.

Is Joseph Park now Abyss, yeah he snapped after seeing his blood but everyone, mainly Tenay & Taz acted like Joe Park being Abyss is proven fact. I don't know if it was the commentators reaction, or the fact Park didn't snap out of Abyss-mode on camera, but I don't know whether to say its proven he's Abyss or this is just another "he snaps when he sees his blood" angle that we've seen for over a year.

As for those two matches, I thought that Gunner/Storm wasn't too bad, but the 10 count finish was very rushed, and why did Gunner attack Storm afterwards? There's tension between the two but I didn't think there was enough for Gunner to attack his partner post match. Monster's Ball was pretty slow, didn't have much rhythm to it. Considering the men in the match, it could of been much better. ODB vs Tapa was a bit clunky on Tapa's part, I think that she still needs work before becoming a regular wrestler on the roster. I liked the Dixie opening promo, having several people interrupting her was great and it was also set up several developments and also intertwined two separate beefs between Hardy & Dixie and Sting & EC3 to set up the main event.

The Bully/Brooke promo was OK, but the mood music just ruined it for me. I'm fine with them using it in backstage segments, but not out in the ring where its supposed to be "live". I really hope they stop using it soon, because its becoming more of a distraction than an enhancement to the segments its used in. I enjoyed the Rise of Magnus video's, it's nice to go back and look at how far he's come, it also really adds/explains why Magnus sided with Dixie, saying she was the one that found him and believed in him, and because he knew he'd always have her support, he was happy to stand by her and be her Champion.

You just knew that Dixie was going to give Spud & EC3 the advantage in the Tag match, and adding the BroMans was a nice rub for them and the Tag Titles. Not a bad main event, and the post match celebration made EC3's win over Sting look like a big moment for Carter. Hardy's departure made sense. He's seen this all before, only it was him on the other side, and he knows how hard he may fight the odds will be hard to overcome. It's also a good way to get him off TV before the UK tour, and it should make his return more of a "moment" once it happens.

Favourite Moment - The Rise of Magnus videos, I enjoyed them all and thought the added to Magnus' Title win.

Least Favourite Moment - Monsters Ball. A long match with very little happening and confusing post match, as I'm still not sure to say if Park is confirmed to be Abyss or not. 

MVP of the Night - I thought Jeff Hardy had a good night promo wise, which helped with his farewell at the end of the show. 

Grade - C-. I've been saying for a while that TNA have had a good run of some great Impact's, after this show I have to say it's over. Not the standard we've been seeing lately and I hope it's just a minor blip.

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