16 February 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Feb 13, 2014

This show was another indicator of just how good the TNA product is right now.  Everything flows well together and the action mixed with the intriguing storylines make the two hours fly by.  The opening promo was entertaining between Team Dixie and MVP, Joe & Gunner.  The C3PO line from MVP had me giggling, as his mic work continues to impress me each week.  Dixie and MVP trying to one-up each other set up the Ethan Carter III VS Gunner ladder match and subsequent EC3 and Magnus VS Gunner and Storm ladder match.  Some painful ladder spots here as we are starting to see more and more of what EC3 can do in the ring.  Interesting twist with Gunner winning and now taking control of 2 briefcases.  EC3 and Magnus continue to get more sideways with each other.

The backstage segments from Anderson and Bully were very well done as it elevated to another level of being personal.  Spud laying down the yellow tape to separate the room into 2 halves/sides for MVP & Dixie was a hilarious touch.  BroMans VS The Wolves & Joe was a decent short match.  I would have liked to see it go a bit longer but it was still cool to finally get some in-ring action from Davey and Eddie.  Since they are scheduled for a match with Bad Influence next week, THAT will be the FULL debut look at them.  Spud shot-off a bit too much towards MVP backstage as we found out that we would get yet another debut/return match, this time from the Investor himself. 

The Abyss promo with EY was personally one of my favorite in-ring segments in years.  I have never seen Chris Parks give that great of a performance.  I went back and watched it again a couple times and each time it was just as good.  The seamless transitioning between Joseph Park and Abyss was so subtle and impressive.  Such emotion and fantastic acting here.  If the person Abyss has in mind that "understands him" ends up being Father James Mitchell, I am going to be a happy man.  I have been calling for The Sinister Minister for over 2 years to come back and complete the story of Chris and the old days of The Monster.  Please let this happen!  Although, directly after the show Samuel Shaw was trying to console Abyss via Twitter.  There is also speculation that Willow might be tied to Abyss somehow also.  We shall see!  This plot just took things up a few notches, no doubt.

The Samuel Shaw interaction with Christy Hemme was short but carried a lot of punch again.  So impressed with Samuel each time he comes on screen.  Classic squash match on Spud with MVP's in-ring return, which was predictable but still enjoyable.  The Willow the Wisp vignette was one of the best I've ever seen from TNA.  So damn freaky and disturbing; it left me speechless.  Very humorous in-ring interaction from Sabin and Velvet with the sports cup spot, and then things got serious with Alpha Female's debut on IMPACT as she rag-dolled VelVel.  It's too bad that Alpha Female has some Japan commitments because I would like to see her on the roster full-time, although she probably will appear a couple more times on this UK Tour.  Eventually I think she will come back and be a main-stay after that contract in Japan is over in 6 months.   

Bobby Roode is clearly turning against Dixie and probably will come back as a face shortly.  I think he can pull it off as long as he remains somewhat of a tweener.  Nice main event with the Casket Match as there were some vicious spots here.  Anderson winning surprised me, quite frankly, and I'm not sure where Bully's character is going to go from here.  The crowd in Manchester was damn impressive all night, but especially during this bout.  Backstage, MVP denies Dixie's offer to buy his shares as the show ends.

Favorite Moment - The Chris Parks in-ring segment blew my mind.  He stole the show and upped the ante.      

Least Favorite Moment - Maybe a smidgen less Dixie, but it's a necessary evil at the moment.

MVP of the Night - I have to give it to Chris, you know, Abyss.  I have never been more impressed with him in the entire time I have watched TNA.

Grade - This out-did the Glasgow shows in my opinion.  I hate to sound like a homer but it really was an A+ show for me again.

Chris Regal
There are a lot of moving parts in this new era of TNA and most of them, in my opinion, are working.  The remarkable thing about the current product is its diversity at a time when the top angle is, for all intents and purposes, an umbrella storyline.  Umbrella storylines typically encompass the vast majority of the roster, oftentimes to the detriment of the product, as was the case with the Aces and 8's angle last year, but the writers have done an exceptional job of keeping much of the focus on the Investor story without affecting the progress of other storylines.  Furthermore, the Team Dixie vs Team MVP angle has put over more talent in just a couple of months than the entire Aces and 8s story did in over a year.  I've heard quite a bit of complaining about Dixie Carter being on TV but the fact remains that her character has helped to elevate young talents such as Magnus, Ethan Carter III, and Rockstar Spud - two of the three were practically unknowns to the typical TNA fan just a few months ago.  On the other end of the spectrum, Team Dixie's reign of terror has also been tremendously beneficial to underutilized talent such as Samoa Joe and Gunner.  Add to that, the additions of MVP and the Wolves and the top angle in TNA right now is literally creating stars.

However, like I said earlier in my review, the Investor angle hasn't completely engrossed the shows as there has been new and interesting developments in other storylines.  The Abyss identity disorder story came to an end...or did it?  It looks like we're getting a new chapter in this poignant and touching story of a man whose subconscious led him to live the life of two persons, who couldn't be more different.  What's most intriguing about this story is the possibility of another alter emerging when Abyss returns to TNA as it is quite common for people who suffer from identity disorders to take on the image of more than two personalities.

Samuel Shaw's obsession with Christy Hemme continued this week, although he attempted to convince her that he was on-board with their professional relationship.  Unfortunately for Christy, his actions spoke much louder than his words.  This has been a fascinating story to watch unfold as the writers are giving Shaw quite a bit of character development before they throw him into his first official feud.  Bully Ray's blood feud with Mr. Anderson appears to have ended with what was a brutal Casket Match.  It was a fitting way to end this vicious and violent feud but part of me wishes that it ended with a flaming table simply to justify the numerous times it was teased. 

The Wolves made their in-ring debut in a six-man tag match with Samoa Joe against the BroMans and Zema Ion.  I thought it was a fine effort and one that simply served to whet our appetites.  TNA will unleash the Wolves at some point but in the meantime, I'm salivating at every opportunity we get to see them wrestle.  And lastly, TNA fans and much of the wrestling world were left in awe after the introduction of Willow.  I, for one, can not wait to see how TNA pulls this gimmick off but it's the sort of character, particularly since it's part of Jeff Hardy's psyche, that will draw viewers.  Wrestling fans will want to watch Willow's debut so I hope TNA builds up to this special moment.

Favorite Moment - I'm going to give this week's honor to the Abyss/Eric Young segment simply because the story has been fun to watch and due to Chris Parks' acting, which was some of the best you'll see in any ring in any promotion.  It was that good.

Least Favorite Moment - Again, I don't think there was anything that was truly bad so I'll pass on this one.

MVP of the Night - Tough to say this week but I'll give it to Mr. Anderson who literally put Bully Ray in his place.  I don't think Mr. Anderson gets the respect that he deserves from TNA fans as the man worked his ass off during this feud, including bumping like a maniac.  He's certainly got my respect.

Grade - Great show this week.  TNA have really stepped up their game in recent weeks and it's translating into great shows.  This week's show will get a well-deserved A- from me.

As you may have noticed I've been away for the last 3 weeks, during that time the shows have been getting better and better, this week was no exception. Enjoyable opening promo from all involved, MVP is a good talker which makes his investor role a good fit for him. I said a few weeks ago it wouldn't be long until Gunner would cash in his Title shot, and it wasn't so surprising Dixie tried to put a roadblock in his way by making him put the case on the line against EC3. The Ladder stipulation was more of an aesthetic touch here than anything, the visual of the two briefcases drove home what was on the line and emphasised that this was more than a random tag match. It was a good big man Ladder match, it gave Gunner a good rub going into next week, and it further showcased the friction between EC3 and Magnus.

I really like how they made Mr Anderson relatable in his backstage segment, so many can get behind Anderson and what he's fighting for, and the phone call from Bully to Anderson's wife was the final bit of heat to get people talking about the main event. Rockstar Spud is such a great character, having him split the room in half and giving Dixie more flowers than MVP was hilarious. I like the BroMans touching on the "Bro-greement" they had with EC3 concerning the Tag Title shot. The 6 man tag was short but sweet. Great to see the Wolves make their in ring debut, and Joe looks great going into Lockdown.

I thought the Abyss/EY segment was fantastic. Abyss was great on the mic and delivered his promo perfectly. It's going to be interesting to see where this goes now. Abyss says he's going to find someone who really understands him, which gives me hope for a James Mitchell return. It also ask's the question, who will he return as. Will the monster be unleashed like never before? or for the first time will Chris Parks appear and confront his multiple personalities. I'm very interested to see where this goes, and what involvement Eric Young, and Bully Ray will have in this. We've proven that Parks has two split personalities, and the conclusion could be made that is down to Bully Ray's attack on Abyss back at Genesis 2012, so I wonder if Abyss will address this theory once he returns.

Samuel Shaw continues to creep the audience out, even in a 30 second backstage segment. You just know that Shaw doesn't mean a word of what he's saying about keeping the relationship with Christy "professional". If I were Christy I'd be worried about what Samuel could do next. Nice little squash match for MVP to debut in, I'd have liked his in-ring debut to have been a little more of an event, but I guess it wouldn't make sense for the face owner of the company to be self-indulgent with the hype for his debut. Very interesting video for Willow. We already knew Jeff Hardy was returning at Lockdown, which made this video from his alter-ego even more surprising. It's going to be interesting to see the arrival of Willow and exactly why he's coming to TNA. Roode flipping out at Dixie was great, out of all of Team Dixie, Roode has done the most and got the least in return. With MVP coming in to level the playing field, will Roode join his side and go against Dixie, or will he walk away like he hinted at.

I wondered what would come out of this Velvet Sky vs Chris Sabin match, and what we received was the debut of Alpha Female. Am I happy we have a new Knockout, yes, but their are several women that were higher up on my list. I'm not a fan of the forced posing she was doing, it looked really unrealistic for me. However it looks like we now have a female to fight Velvet and back up Chris Sabin, and I think this will lead to a man coming to Velvet's aid and evening the odds *Please be Alex Shelley, Please be Alex Shelley*. Really good main event. My only complaint is the Casket looked a bit tacky, but considering how enjoyable the match was, it wasn't really a problem. Loved the finish with the Mic Check into the Casket, great way to end this feud. I liked the closing segment, MVP turning down Dixie big offer, and then countering it with a Lethal Lockdown challenge for control of Wrestling Operation's was a nice cliffhanger for next week.

Favorite Moment - Has to be the Abyss segment. Chris Parks put on a fantastic performance that I really enjoyed, and really got me excited to see whats next for this story.

Least Favorite Moment - I have to go with Alpha Females debut. Unfortunately her mannerism's took me away from the "holy crap who's this" mindset to "what is she doing?". Like I said about Tapa during her debut, she needs to tone down the forced mannerisms and let her size do the talking.  

MVP of the Night - I'm giving it to Chris Parks. He delivered a great promo for me that was enjoyable to watch.

Grade - Yet another great Impact, worthy of an A. The run they have been on has been great, and hopefully it continues into Lockdown, which could be a great event depending on the direction of the top feuds at the moment.

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