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09 February 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Feb 6, 2014


BigDawg
Some people liked the first #ImpactGlasgow episode better, and some liked the second episode better.  I fall in the category of liking the 1st episode a little bit more.  Don't get me wrong, I dug both of them.  There was just some elements I didn't enjoy as much this week.  One positive and different element of this show, which fans have been calling for, was to actually start things off with a match.  It was very refreshing and it was nice to mix things up a bit.  The weekly show-starting promos are OK, but to have them last the ENTIRE first segment EVERY SINGLE time gets a bit repetitive for those of us that watch every episode.  I loved the Monsters Ball match (big surprise huh?) and I think it was well-received amongst people that don't necessarily consider themselves to be the typical Abyss fan.  I won't go into too much detail, as I already wrote a whole column on Monsters Ball matches this weekend, but sufficed to say it was a hard-core spectacle.  The ending with Abyss being unmasked is just what the doctor ordered for this storyline to really gain some traction now.  It will be very interesting to see where things go from here.

There were so many backstage segments that kind of ran together so it's difficult to summarize them all in this format, however, it's evident that these multiple storylines have captured the attention of the audience.  The ratings/viewership have been much improved and consistent lately and I'm sure it's because there are parts of the current product that are drawing people in to come back each week.  The Roode/Dixie stuff, the reestablishing of Samoa Joe as a main event player, the EC3 dynamic within Team Dixie, the MVP/Wolves Investor plot and much more all contribute to an "overall hook" for the viewers at home.  I personally am intrigued by the Samuel Shaw storyline the most as it is very unique to pro-wrestling and I am interested in how it will evolve.  Samuel has done superb work in getting this character over and legitimately creeping out the audience.  Now that Christy basically rejected him it's going to get very, very interesting from this point on.   

There was a lot of MVP and Dixie on this show, but that was a necessary building block to establish MVP's role and to show how the President of TNA will mesh with this new investor group.  I doubt they will eat up as much time as they did on this episode on the remaining UK Tour shows.  Rockstar Spud continues to impress me as he naturally fits into his "Dixie's lapdog" role perfectly.  Bully Ray destroyed Curry Man as a preview to the Coffin Match with Mr. Anderson next week.  I'm not sure the darker Bully Ray persona is resonating with the fans completely yet but let's see how next week goes.  I liked the idea of the impromptu X-Division briefcase-cash-in from Zema Ion, but Aries squashing him so quickly was kind of a let-down.  Why have Zema carry around the briefcase for a couple months just to get squashed?  I've heard rumblings that the X-Division picks up in the next 4 episodes so at least that's something to look forward to. 

Magnus VS Angle was OK but the real story was EC3 viciously taking Kurt's knee out and showing us his more serious side.  The Sabin/Velvet segment blew my socks off with how frickin' MEAN Sabin was to her.  I thought he would propose marriage and be rejected.  Instead he degraded the shit out of Sky and challenged her to a match?  WTF?!?  Samoa Joe VS Roode was very good and Joe is getting that big push that he deserves in order to make the World Title match at Lockdown more elevated and unpredictable.  The best line from the ending Dixie/MVP in-ring promo was obviously the "butler at a Paula Deen party" one.  Twitter went crazy over that.  I have seen A LOT of people online claiming the only reason they are watching IMPACT right now is because of MVP.  They are handling the Investor plot very well so far and I'm sure it only gets better from here.

Favorite Moment - For me it was Abyss realizing that he and Joseph Park are existing in the same body while he stared into the broken mirror piece confusedly after being unmasked by EY.  A very poignant moment.

Least Favorite Moment - Lack of the Wolves on-screen.  They are HOT right now so why not have them accompany MVP most of the night?  That make no sense to me whatsoever.

MVP of the Night - MVP for MVP.  Haha! He was very good on the mic in-ring and also in the backstage segments.  I still don't personally like him THAT much but he continues to win me over.

Grade - I will give this show a B+.  A little too much talking for my preference but it was a necessary evil I suppose.  The next 4 episodes should be KILLER!


Chris Regal
Based on last week's near perfect episode of Impact, my expectations for this week's show were quite high.  And I'm happy to say that those expectations were met for the most part and at times, even exceeded.  TNA seems to be hitting its stride right now, particularly, in the area of storytelling and character development.  After a entire year in which it felt like no talent was elevated, it's so wonderful to see the company finally put the spotlight on the younger talent as opposed to the older veterans like Hulk Hogan and Sting.  As a viewer, it's as if I'm watching guys like Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode for the first time.  They're no longer in the shadow of the so-called legends of the industry and it makes a huge difference.

TNA have also begun to introduce and commit to new talents such as Ethan Carter III, Samuel Shaw, Rockstar Spud, the Wolves, among others.  The names I've just mentioned have all been given the opportunity to shine on-screen and they've all passed with flying colors.  These characters are resonating with fans, which bodes very well for their future in the company.

In storyline developments, MVP announced to the wrestling world that Dixie Carter's reign is over and that things will change in TNA.  We've heard this quite a few times before but I must say, I actually believe it this time.  I believe it because I can see it with my own eyes.  There's a new focus and energy in the product that we haven't seen since mid-2012.  There's also a sense that anything can happen on Impact now, which is also something we haven't seen since 2009.  Gone are the days when Bully Ray's reveal as the Aces and 8s leader was a given several months prior.

Joseph Park finally has realized that he is Abyss, or shall I say, Abyss has realized that he is Joseph Park.  In any case, the Monster's identity disorder is out in the open.  Even though the storyline meandered at times, I think the writers have done a great job streamlining the story in recent weeks in order to efficiently present us with this week's moment of self-revelation.  I'm genuinely curious to see what happens next, now that Abyss is unmasked in many ways.

Favorite Moment - Quite a few to choose from but I will go with Austin Aries' promo, in which reminded us that his goal is still to become the TNA world heavyweight champion and he will use the X Division title to do it.  It was great to see Aries back.

Least Favorite Moment - I don't think there were any moments that I disliked.  The shows have been pretty good about avoiding filler segments.

MVP of the Night - I will give it to MVP this week.  It was his first official appearance inside a TNA ring and he looked like he belonged, first off.  And secondly, I appreciated that he appeared to speak from the heart as opposed to going out and there and giving us the empty rhetoric that we've had to endure from Hulk Hogan for the last two years.

Grade - Although it did not match last week's outstanding performance, this week's show was a great follow up.  It showed me that TNA is going in the right direction right now.  I know some have squawked at the notion but this is indeed a new era in TNA.  The proof is right in front of you if you can put aside your bias.  In any case, this week's Impact gets a deserved B+ from me.

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