19 January 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Jan 16, 2014

Effective immediately, our weekly Ringside review of Impact Wrestling will be posted on TNAMecca each and every Sunday night at 6:00PM EST.  For those in the UK, who have just finished watching Genesis on Challenge TV, please feel free to share with us your thoughts of tonight's show.  What did you like about it?  What didn't you like?  What did you think of the Wolves' debut?

Classy beginning to the show paying tribute to Mae Young.  TNA has a nice history of paying homage to wrestlers that have passed.  Now, on to the show.  Rockstar Spud is a show-stealing character.  I can't help but watch his little antics during these Team Dixie promos as he gives us golf-claps and other funny gestures.  Magnus looks really great with the title belt and appropriately so as he is the new, young World Champion.  I've heard people bitch about Magnus being the champ, but logically it makes so much sense heading into the HUGE upcoming U.K. Tour.  The reactions he and Team Dixie will receive there will be outrageously loud and passionate.  Now, I do think that Dixie could cut down her screen time a bit as it seems a little much lately.  However, the wrestlers in Team Dixie do deserve screen-time so it is a bit of a quandary.  In the future, I think they should avoid having every single member of Team Dixie in the ring at the same time for promos.  Again, it makes sense logically that Sting (who is still very over in a southern state like Alabama) would be in a match with Magnus next week so that he can be written out of the show before the U.K. Tour.  The subsequent brawl and 12 man tag match was entertaining and was a decent way of getting multiple wrestlers some screen time.

I really like the Sabin/Velvet dynamic and it's nice to see that the X-Division is at least getting some kind of attention again.  Their title match next week should be very good.  Someday soon I hope more X-Division wrestlers can have matches so that the division can return to what it was.  The phrase #PigeonPie might be etched in the pro-wrestling vernacular for quite some time as it made me giggle.  Samuel Shaw beating Pat Kenney with his own shoe was an amazing scene as his character is progressing ever so nicely.  The Bully Ray/Anderson match was the best of the show as they did some great story-telling in the ring.  The piledriver that Bully gave Ken was the best one I have seen in years.  It legit made me go "Holy Shit!" as I was worried for Mr.Anderson's well-being.  At Lockdown someone is going to go through a flaming table.  Everyone was waiting for the Wolves debut and it came in the form of a backstage segment with Dixie Carter.  To me it was a GIANT tease for the "new investor" and I love that it was revealed that they've already signed TNA contracts.  It's OK that the Wolves didn't have a match but I would've liked some kind of in-ring brawl with Bad Influence or the BroMans. 

The Angle/Dixie promo was just OK......but this is the point where I felt like Dixie was getting overexposed a bit.  Bobby Roode attacking Kurt was well-done as their rivalry continues to become more and more intense.  I don't know why "Roode-Bomb" is the name of his finisher but whatever.  The backstage segment where Gail & Tapa beat-down Madison was more entertaining to me than the actual Knockouts match, but good for Rayne in becoming a 5-time champion.  The women's division is pretty lackluster and this title change did very little to change that.  One of my favorite moments from this show was EC3 giving himself a pep-talk in the mirror backstage.  His character is hilarious and his mass potential is shining though.  The actual Sting/EC3 match was decent but everyone and their dog knew that Ethan would get the W here.  Magnus and Sting set-up their match for next week and the show ends.  I personally don't like the fact that the match was made as a World Title bout but it is what it is I suppose.    

Favorite Moment - The PILEDRIVAH by Bully Ray was frickin' SICK and old-school. Loved it.

Least Favorite Moment - The Knockouts match was underwhelming and the ending was lame.

MVP of the Night - The American Wolves stole the show with the "new investor" revelation.

Grade - I had high expectations for this show and it did not meet those.  I still give it a solid B overall.

Chris Regal
Although Genesis did not quite feel like a new beginning per se, I have a feeling I know where this is heading and I'm very excited.  There will be a new era in TNA but it will require some patience by viewers because I don't think we'll get there until Lockdown.  Until then, however, TNA appear to be getting their ducks in a row, as they say.  In order for the new era of TNA to work, the company needs to set it up properly.  A new era requires new stars.  In the opening segment of this week's Impact, we saw several of them.  Magnus (the current TNA world heavyweight champion), Ethan Carter III, and Rockstar Spud, the BroMans (the current TNA tag team champions) and DJ Zema Ion.  It's a process but TNA are executing it perfectly at the moment.  So many are quick to criticize Dixie Carter and her TV time simply because they haven't grasped what it is she's trying to accomplish.  Her main objective is to make sure that Magnus, EC3, and Rockstar Spud get over.  And judging by the crowd's reaction on Thursday night, she has done her job.

The opening thirty minutes of Genesis featured quite a bit of talking but I enjoy the non-wrestling segments.  I thought the writers were smart to re-introduce all the players on Team Dixie and those they have wronged.  It's interesting to note, those closest to Dixie Carter were introduced (Magnus, EC3) or got most of the mic time (Rockstar Spud), whereas those lower on the totem pole were simply lumped into one unsung group - Bobby Roode, Bad Influence, Gail Kim, Lei'D Tapa, the BroMans, and Zema Ion.  It'll be interesting to see who, amongst them, will eventually rock the boat.  I suspect it will be the members of EGO.  On the other end of the spectrum, I expect to see some of the babyfaces begin to stand out, and this week, it was Samoa Joe's turn as he got the submission victory for his team.  I suspect Joe will be built up in the coming weeks in order to challenge Magnus for the world title.

In other developments, Bully Ray and Mr. Anderson continued what is, in my opinion, one of the most vicious and violent feuds we've seen in recent years.  And now they want to put each other on fire.  It's really been fascinating to watch.  I, particularly, love how they're building up to the moment when one of these two men will actually go through a burning table.  When it eventually happens, I'm sure it will be quite the spectacle.  The X Division was featured this week with an in-ring talking segment, which I'm happy to see.  It appears that the writers intend to feature the X Division more in 2014 and actually give it storylines, which is something we haven't seen in quite some time.  However, the X Division needs to be about the action in the ring so I hope they keep the shenanigans to a minimum during next week's X Division title match between Chris Sabin and Austin Aries.  Oh, and EC3 beat Sting...again.

And lastly, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards made their official TNA debuts this week and I thought the writers handled it well.  Although it was a backstage segment, it was an important one simply because it officially introduced us to a new story arc.  There's a new investor in town and it appears that he or she isn't too fond of Dixie Carter.  I think this storyline will play into my 'new era' scenario, which I will share with you at a later time.  As for the Wolves, which is their TNA name, I thought they did fine.  Richards surprised me with his acting ability, whereas Edwards unfortunately flopped.  It's still too early to fully evaluate them but one thing's for sure.  They're a breath of fresh air right now so I'm excited to see what TNA has planned for them. 

Favorite Moment - I have to admit, the sequence of Mr. Anderson attempting to light the table on fire that led to a piledriver from Bully Ray was fantastic.  It left me wanting more. 

Least Favorite Moment - I will have to say, the Knockouts title match.  Unfortunately, there's a lack of urgency in Knockouts matches these days, even ones for the title.  I hope TNA finds a way to remedy this as the division is irrelevant right now. 

MVP of the Night - For me, it's Magnus for the simple reason that he's taken on the task, it seems, of ridding TNA of the top babyfaces and those who are the biggest threat to his title.  It's a calculated move and yet he appears vulnerable in order to trap his opponents.  It's a brilliant strategy. 

Grade - This was a very good episode of Impact with quite a bit storyline progression.  There was also the much anticipated debut by one of the most talented tag teams in the indies.  For that, this week's Impact gets a B for me.

Pretty long opening segment here. It was a logical follow up to have everyone involved in last weeks main event come out and be thanked by Dixie. This segment was like the connector to last week, tying up that loose ends by having everyone who was attacked last week come out for a brawl/12 person tag with Team Dixie. Good tag match that covered several programs in one group package.

I'm glad we're getting some movement on this Velvet/Sabin story. My only problem is why does the entire X Division have to stand still and wait for this thing to play out, right now the X Division is Austin Aries and Chris Sabin, and it looks like that feud is becoming more about Velvet than the X Division title. I assume we'll get a great title match next week but I hope we get some real X Division action involving more than just those two in the very near future. I liked the backstage segment with Samuel Shaw, him snapping because Pat Kenny called him Sam and suggested he shouldn't focus on Christy was great, I want to see more of Shaw on my screen. The Magnus/EC3 segment was interesting, there's some tension there, more than likely because of their huge ego's rubbing together, their interactions in the future should be something to keep an eye on.

I enjoyed the Anderson vs Bully Match. These two work well together and I can only assume this will continue until Lockdown. My one problem is Bully, his new character was nowhere to be seen in the match, his movement, his expressions, everything was like he was back to the old Bully, hopefully it was a one off and the character stays consistent. Not a bad segment with Dixie and Angle, just it went on a little longer than it should, Roode comes out and once again takes out Angle before what should be a great cage match next week.

So the endgame of the Gail Kim Open Challenge was to bring back a former multi-time champion and put here over all the new potential KO's that were squashed in the Challenge. I'm really not interested in the Knockouts division right now and Rayne winning the title didn't help, if Kim had retained I would have had some hope that the Open Challenge could continue and we could actually get some new faces from it, but that seems to be out of the equation now. Its great to see the Wolves in TNA, and I know some were upset with them not debuting in a match or run in but I think this was a great introduction. In their first segment, they got one over on the President of the company, Dixie had offered them a tryout, and they turned that around and informed her they had signed contracts, and also revealed they were signed by a new investor. The investor angle should be very interesting, and with the way they debuted, I expect the Wolves will be involved in what should be a huge angle.

Standard match between Sting and EC3 with the main angle throughout being Spud doing everything to stop Sting from winning. EC3 not surprisingly gets the win thanks to Magnus, however afterwards was a little out of the blue. I'm not a fan of Sting vs Magnus being for the World Title, seeing as Sting is banned for competing for the belt, but I guess they needed to give Sting some incentive to accept a match where his career would be on the line. My assumption is next week the screw will be in again and Sting will be heading for the exit door of Impact Wrestling.

Favorite Moment - The Wolves' debut. Great to see them in TNA and they did a good job of starting this whole Investor angle.

Least Favorite Moment - Knockouts title match. Not very interested in the division and had no real desire to see Rayne as KO champion.

MVP of the Night - The Wolves. They stood out and really made an Impact with the mention of a new investor.

Grade - It wasn't exactly the PPV Impact it was promoted to be, but was a good normal Impact, so all things considered I'll give it a C+/B-.

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